I am making goals and taking action but suddenly it’s becoming too much because I’m lacking the vital support I need to do this.
This post is part of my Free Write Friday Series. Sometimes I just need to get the thoughts and words out of my head and into this space. And so I free write. I invite you to join me on Friday’s when you need it. Please link up in the comments below.
Sign up for “Intro To (art) Journaling For Your Wellness: 6 Day FREE Challenge” by clicking here.
One of my biggest recommendations and personal ways to improve your wellness or start your path to self discovery has always been writing. Journaling. I realized the other day I’ve never shared the reasons WHY I think this is such a great tool for anyone to practice.
What do I consider journaling?
I love journals that are just words and journals that are considered “art journals”. (check out my art journal category!) Both are great ways to express yourself and I have been using both for my wellness and personal use for almost 10 years now. So when I talk about “journaling” I’m talking about either kind of journal, but the most important aspect of both is that they are created by your own hands.
It’s a physical book, a pen or pencil in your hand and paper in front of you. It’s not a word document on your computer or an app on your phone. It’s real, tangible, something you can hold and doodle on, something you can rip apart or burn, something you can cry on and carry with you.
I know some people are hesitant to start any kind of journaling practice, because they wonder, “what if I do it wrong?” There is no right and there is no wrong, ever.
My style has evolved many times over the years and while I used to love the mixed media look in journals, I am now enamored with simplicity, white space and the beauty of just words and ink on the page. I know myself as well as some friends who are obsessed with pretty notebooks. But then we get home and think, “I have to do something awesome in this, so I’ll wait.” Stop waiting. Get a cheap notebook from the clearance section of an art store, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. Experiment, let go.
1- It’s important for you to journal to learn from the mistakes and the joys to grow for your future.
The years speed by and often times we don’t get a break to really take a moment and realize what is going on in our lives. Sure, we notice the slip ups, the “failures” and the successes, but how often do you really take the time to sit down and think about what it all means? How does it apply to your life and how do these experiences help you grow?
I’m all about learning about and being our authentic selves and one of the best ways to do that is to take time to remember the mistakes and the joys from the past year and think about how they can propel you forward into the next. A few weeks ago, I took a look at something I wrote last year when I was in the deep throes of my anxiety, it was great to look back to see how far I’ve come.
2- Journaling is the best way to solidify your goals and dreams.
Yes! The more you journal, the more you will learn about what you want. If I sat down and leafed through my journals from a few years ago, through art school, 3 different moves, an engagement, a pregnancy and a baby later…my life is so different. But you know what’s not? The truth of some of my goals and dreams.
If I look back almost 4 years ago to when I was 18, my journals would tell me I yearned to be free, to live on the road and have my own business. If I take a peak into my journal from last month, it reveals the same dreams. How cool is that? The most important part of this is learning to be honest with yourself, you have to show up at the page and be willing to write what is true to you.
3- You can create your own kind of meditation practice and learn to release any negative emotions and thoughts.
I’ve recently finally figured out how to meditate, for real. But my go to to focus my mind, much like meditation, is journaling. As my hand flows over the page, the words pour out of me and my anxieties and self doubt get put on the page and when it’s over? I can take a breath and feel more centered and more at peace.
4- Journaling is a great way to record your memories for yourself, make mementos for your loved ones and record your story.
Like I said, this year has gone fast. And if I didn’t journal, I would often times forget some of the best memories even though they were small at the time. I love using words to paint a picture and writing down how I felt the day my son learned how to sit or when my fiance and I finally got a to go on a date, it’s the little things that are important. My grandmother passed away a few years ago and one of my favorite things she left behind where notebooks filled with stories. Stories from when she grew up (during The Great Depression). I love to see her handwriting, hear her voice in the words and learn things I never knew about her. Not all of my journaling is quite as coherent, but I like to hope my some-day grandchildren will still appreciate it.
5- There is no better way to follow the path of self discovery and truth than to journal.
I have clinical depression and an anxiety disorder, and one of my ways to healing is to learn more about who I am. I dropped out of art school after 1 year and my passions were broken and I felt lost. I have journaled my whole life and some times it takes writing down our thoughts to really figure out what we’re thinking, ya know?
Perhaps your journaling practice won’t always lead to a larger epiphany, perhaps you won’t break the block you’ve had with a bigger project. But perhaps it will. At the very least, you will have taken the time not only to create without rules but to create just for you, to breathe, to focus inward.
Because I love journaling so much and want to help you (yes,YOU!) on your journey to wellness…I’ve created a 6 day free challenge called “Intro To (art) Journaling For Your Wellness”
This 6 day free challenge was born out of wanting to help women jump start their path to wellness and teach a little about journaling in all forms. This challenge is for any women looking to start an journal practice and feel guided to use this as a part of their wellness journey.
There will be 6 prompts spread out over a 2 week period, as well as 2 technique tutorials to learn from. This free challenge includes a private space for you to share your pages, talk about journaling and wellness and make connections.
One of the meditations I’ve learned recently is to help accept anxiety as it is. It starts with visualizing the anxiety in your body. See it as an object, what is the color, shape, texture etc.
Every single time I do this meditation, I see myself lying down (I’m always in a grove in a forest), with a boulder outside of my body, pressing down on me, as my anxiety. The size and weight differs depending on the severity of my anxiety at the given time, but it is always an outside force, holding me down, keeping me in place and I can’t move, it’s hard to breathe and there’s no way to get rid of the boulder.
“Let’s see what kind of metaphor you use to describe anxiety. Fill in the blank: anxiety is ______________.
Don’t describe it — compare it to something. Is anxiety a monster? Is anxiety a roadblock? Is anxiety a train without brakes? Is anxiety war?
The metaphor that you use to describe your anxiety probably tells you something about how you view your anxiety — and your recovery process. Doesn’t it? Can you see the difference between seeing anxiety as a “roadblock” and “a train without brakes”?” (source)
When I first did this meditation, I felt like I shouldn’t be seeing my anxiety as something outside of me. I know that whatever I see isn’t necessarily ‘wrong’ because it just is what it is in my mind. The wording in the meditation made me feel like I needed to be seeing it as something that’s part of me, something inside my body. So I’ve been questioning this boulder.
During this anxiety acceptance meditation, after visualizing the anxiety as a thing, you need to allow space around it, allow it to be a part of your body but let yourself have breath around it’s shape. It is easier to see myself putting space between myself and my anxiety when it is an outside force. I breathe in and out and the boulder starts to float above my rather than weighing me down. So perhaps the metaphor is apt and okay.
It is nice to visualize this boulder get smaller, give myself more room and less weight as time goes by. While I was at first, unsure if this metaphor was a good one for my anxiety, I think I like it. I’ve said in the past, I won’t ever get rid of my mental illnesses completely and watching this boulder shrink and compact, some day it will be small enough to fit in my palm and carry with me but not affect me.
Share: How do you view your mental illness? Is it something inside of you or an outside force? Fill in the blank, my mental illness is…..